The corporate museum has been gaining popularity among big enterprises in recent decades, For example, the latest company to announce a museum plan is IKEA.

Having a corporate museum may be a trend, but businesses should really consider whether such establishments will help or hurt their bottom lines. They also should be cognizant that though world-renowned operations—such as the World of Coca-Cola, the Volkswagen's Autostadt, and the Shiseido Corporate Museum—exist, many more corporate museums have floundered and morphed into company baggage waiting to collapse in one form or another.

Firms, for-profits or non-profits alike, should embrace another important goal for their corporate museums in addition to preserving and conveying company histories. Those established during profitable years for the sole purpose of showcasing and demonstrating their bygone affairs face the ugly reality of affordability and neglect at down times.

The primary reason why some corporate museums have succeeded while more have stumbled is that prosperous corporate museums set out to accomplish more than just archiving and displaying past corporate artifacts

Successful corporate museums are driven simultaneously by another objective, which is to help their businesses to attain corporate missions and objectives as well.

Corporate Museums Must Also Advance Their Brand

To withstand business fluctuations, corporate museums must adopt the objective of contributing to their company bottom lines directly or indirectly—in addition to preserving and sharing company antiquities.

Though museum objectives are not designed to replace regular sales, marketing, or campaign functions, they should nonetheless take advantage of their story-telling exhibits to build and strengthen their brands to facilitate the fulfillments of corporate missions and objectives.

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Chi-Pong Wong is a supply chain strategy development manager at Hewlett-Packard.

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